Differentiation and Blended Learning: Every educator’s desire is to determine the learning styles (visual, kinesthetic, or auditory) of the students in the classroom and promote student investigation through multiple representations. Students may discover and experiment with graphing, examining tables, and analyzing concepts by using free online tools such as Desmos and Geogebra. A teacher should carefully evaluate the technological resources to assure the support of student learning of mathematics and the advantages offered in posing mathematical problems as well as illustrating mathematical ideas.
The Mathematical Practices and Blended Learning: Many of the Mathematical Practices dealing with problem solving, reasoning and constructing viable arguments, modeling with mathematics, and using appropriate tools are supported by various online programs and videos. Dan Meyer has developed many mathematical exercises that not only incorporate the practices into learning but also create scenarios that prompt students to stop and think about how to formulate solutions to the problems. One of these problems is called Meatballs and the Three Act Math Task: Will It Overflow? (http://www.101qs.com/2352-meatballs) Students work with the information observed in the three videos to solve the problem. Educators may also choose Khan Academy, create flipped lessons, or use lessons from YouTube for students who need more practice or understanding on standards. Teachers also have various alternatives for on-line formative assessment such as Kahoot, Google Forms, Socrative, Quizlet, or student designed presentation using Screencast-O-Matic. Listed are just a few of the online learning tools for educators to use in the classroom.
Three years have passed since I first heard about Blended Learning. The ninth and tenth graders at my high school all have laptops for learning. I now realize that I will never be replaced by a computer and that I may serve as a facilitator in the classroom. The questioning techniques along with problem solving progress at a much higher level of learning for students. I am also preparing my students for the future world of work through the collaborative and communication skills they are utilizing with their peers. As an educator, one needs to keep in mind that all of the learning tools available for students take time to implement or adapt for multiple learning styles and that the technology should always support the mathematics. Also, an educator may want to investigate online professional development (MOOC-Ed, North Carolina State, https://place.fi.ncsu.edu/local/catalog/catalog.php). Whatever the decisions made in moving students forward in a technological world, the rewards far outweigh the drawbacks. I am now convinced that a Blended Learning environment will enhance my students’ work skills as they become productive citizens of the future.
Dr. Elaine Vaughan is a mathematics instructor at Oak Ridge High School for 20 years. She is a National Board Certified teacher, Professional Learning Communities Coach, and member of the Response to Intervention district and school board. Elaine is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and serves on the XI State Vision Board. Through this organization, she received both state and international scholarships. Elaine was a state mathematics textbook reviewer during the 2013-2014 school year. Elaine received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Tennessee and her doctorate from Walden University. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.
Thinking about this question, I offer the following tips:
Some of my special memories are times I spent with my dad as he shared his passion for mathematics. The ideas shared in this article were inspired by him as he helped me truly see the world through a mathematical lens. Be that inspiration for your child and you will ignite a lifelong passion in your child.
Cindy Cliche has over 30 years of classroom experience and currently serves as the Math Coordinator for Murfreesboro City Schools. She also teaches Math Methods to pre-service teachers at Middle Tennessee State University. Cindy has worked in the past as a Teacher Trainer with the Tennessee State Department of Education. She was the Presidential Awardee in Math and Science Teaching in 2004. She has a passion for math education in the elementary grades. Cindy received her Bachelor’s Degree from Ball State University and her Masters from Berry College. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.
Obviously, how you approach your non-reading/math teachers with leading intervention groups will have to do with the individual personalities of those teachers, as well as the resources you have available. You might have a situation where the teacher can observe other groups, you might need to set up clear expectations for how intervention time should look, etc. But I wanted to share what made me successful as an interventionist. Basically, provide teachers with the resources they need to be successful (materials, training) and treat them with the same understanding you would need if you were in the same situation.
Crystal has taught at Camden Elementary for six years teaching PreK-2nd grade general music and reading intervention and serves as RTI Co- Coordinator. Crystal served as the Benton County Education Association president 2013-2015, is an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and was named Distinguished Educator of West Tennessee by the Tennessee Education Association in 2014. Crystal is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin where she earned a B.M. in Music Education. As a life-learner, she has also earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.
The first pitch is thrown. Strike one! The audience response is full of echoes of encouragement. It’s okay! Come on! Next pitch, the child swings hard and gets a hit, but it goes foul. Strike two! The crowd starts yelling more loudly now. Good try! You’re a hitter! You’re gonna get this one! The third pitch whizzes into the catcher’s glove. Strike three! The child walks toward the dugout, head down, feeling defeated.
What strategies might the coach of this young boy use next to help his player persevere? Most likely he would start by offering words of encouragement as a source of motivation and inspiration to the child. Additionally, he would provide intervention focused on batting strategies in the practice sessions that follow. Before the next game, the coach would spend much time reinforcing skills that would build this child’s confidence, and as a result of the inspiration and intervention provided, the player would soon show improvement on the field.
My mind immediately begins to wander and quickly transforms from baseball mom to fourth grade classroom teacher. I wonder if that is how the kids in my Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) math group feel? First grade—adding and subtracting. Strike one! Second grade—time and money. Strike two! Third grade—multiplication facts. Strike three… you’re out! Now here they are approaching the plate in fourth grade ready to take another swing at learning.
Thinking of the RTI2 program as our playing field, I reflect on the Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow’s Spring 2016 Report that suggests four key areas to consider in supporting successful RTI2 implementation to ensure that every child is a winner:
As an RTI2 teacher, I believe that if we fully execute the above four key areas, then students ready to take a swing at fourth grade math will have many amazing opportunities. They can secure a base hit by receiving intervention while their Tier I instruction is protected. They could get all the way to second by having a positive, cohesive school-wide team. They may even hit a triple because all stakeholders involved believe in their ability to grow and learn. All of these children can have a chance at a home run in a school with great resources and well-trained teachers.
Implementing an RTI2 program which includes the recommendations stated in the Hope Street Group Report will give all children the inspiration plus the intervention needed to equal improvement. They will have everything they need to hit a grand slam!
Maureen Henderson teaches fourth grade math, science, and social studies at Greenbrier Elementary School in Robertson County. She has been an educator in Robertson County for seventeen years. Maureen has served as a grade level leader and as a chair for the school’s math committee. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.